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Johnathan M. Holifield      

Senior Vice President for New Economies at Bitwise Industries, Former NFL player, Author & Consultant

Johnathan M. Holifield is Senior Vice President for New Economies at Bitwise Industries, leading the venture-backed, tech training company’s expansion into underestimated cities across the U.S. He is a senior executive with 20+ years of diverse local and federal government and private sector experience and expertise in strategy formation and execution, effectively translating concepts into presidential policy, federal law, and organizational and local development plans.

Holifield served as executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). A Non-career Senior Executive Service appointee, he directly advised the President, Secretary of Education and Executive Office of the President, leading a presidential interagency policy coordinating committee and chairing a federal interagency group of 34 agencies. He helped deliver the largest ever federal HBCU investment of $2.5B, enshrined decades of presidential executive orders into new federal legislation and produced the first government-wide competitiveness strategy.

In addition to achieving landmark government and education reforms, Holifield led formation of $40M venture capital fund, enabling $250M network of early-stage risk capital, and designed community benefits for $1.4B of development projects. He co-founded ScaleUp Partners LLC, an economic competitiveness consultancy, and authored the groundbreaking book, The Future Economy and Inclusive Competitiveness®, a seminal treatise for the first-time linking diversity, inclusion, and American competitiveness. Holifield also catalyzed and authored the Ohio Department of Higher Education Report, Inclusive Competitiveness: Empowering Underrepresented Ohioans to Compete in the Innovation Economy and co-authored the $5M appropriation to create Ohio’s first statewide, high school STEM education, commercialization, and entrepreneurship program.

A national competitiveness leader, the Ohio governor appointed Holifield to the Midwest Governors’ Association Investments for the Knowledge-based Economy Project, where he co-chaired the Increasing Research Capacity team, and to the Ohio House and Senate Joint Commission on High-Tech Business, which led to the Ohio Third Frontier, a $2.1B state innovation investment.

Earlier in his career, Holifield was vice president of Inclusive Competitiveness at NorTech, founding executive director of CincyTech, vice president of New Economy Enterprise at the Cincinnati USA Chamber, chief executive of the Cleveland Urban League and member of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals.

Holifield has served on several federal, national, and local governing and advisory boards, including President’s Board of Advisors, Northeast Ohio Economic Policy Advisors, Federal HBCU Capital Financing Program, The University of Oklahoma's Economic Development Institute, Bio/Start Bio/Medical Start-Up Center, Greater Cincinnati Venture Association, Cincinnati NAACP, and The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. He is a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Tau Boulé, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and the Kent State University Board of Trustees.

Holding a bachelor's degree in Political Science from West Virginia University, Holifield went from football walk-on to elected team captain and attaining All-East honors. He earned master's in education and law degrees from University of Cincinnati.

Speech Topics

The Inclusive Competitiveness Imperative

The national economic imperative to improve the performance and productivity of disconnected Americans - low-income urban and rural communities, Latinos, African Americans and women - through STEAM/STEM education attainment, higher growth entrepreneurship, capital formation and investment and private and public policy.

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